4 Nutritious and Delicious Lunchbox Recipes
Are you scratching your head for lunchbox ideas?
Finding lunchbox snacks that are nutritious and delicious is important to all parents. While it's important to make sure that kids' brains and bodies are ready to learn, all the nutrition in the world is no good if it doesn't taste good!
Everyone wants to see an empty lunchbox at the end of the school day, and if you're already running out of ideas then these four simple lunchbox recipes might be just what you need. Better yet, they're all easy enough that kids can help in the kitchen!
These lunchbox recipes aren't just for kid's lunchboxes either! Make a double batch to ensure everyone heads off for the day with a nutritious and delicious lunch, and save time and money by cooking for the whole family at once.
Up first - snack balls. There are lots of amazing options to buy in the supermarkets for those weeks where you can't be bothered, and they keep well in the cupboard - if you can keep them out of sight that is. However, if you've got willing helpers and a few ingredients lying around these are bound to be a hit - and you'll sneak some nutrition into their lunchboxes too.
Cacao Snack Balls
This recipe – although big on nuts and dates - is a goody as it has one of the things all growing brains need: good fats. Plus it has chia seeds as fibre to help with keeping people full. And did we mention it's chocolate??
2 cups of walnuts/almond meal/sunflower seeds if nut free
¼ cup shredded coconut
2 T cacao or carob
1 T chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp chilli powder (OPTIONAL)
Pinch of sea salt
2 cups dates (Top tip: you can just buy the dried ones and rehydrate them with hot water when you need them. Remember to drain them first!)
1. Chuck everything in the food processor and blend until almost a paste - some kids hate texture, others like a little crunch so this is up to you!
2. Scoop out 2 T of mixture and roll into a ball.
3. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
And they're done! Without preservatives to give them a long shelf life these won't last too long so keep them in the fridge - but they're too tasty to last long anyway!
Quicker Snack Balls
Can't quite be bothered with soaking dates, or don't have some of the ingredients for Cacao Snack Balls? This super simple recipe can be whipped up in less than 10 minutes!
Oats are a great source of carbohydrates, fibre and protein, but did you know that they're also helpful for the nervous system?
1 ½ cups rolled oats
2/3 cup peanut/sunflower/pumpkin seed/almond butter (you choose)
3 T honey or maple syrup
1. Blend the oats until they have a flour-like consistency.
2. Add in the syrup and your warmed nut or seed butter of choice.
3. Blend until it's all combined - you might need to tweak the quantities a little.
4. Roll into small balls and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
You can also add 1-2 T of protein powder to these as well to make these a super filling snack!
That's right - smoothies aren't just for breakfast! They're also a fantastic way to sneak some extra fruits and veges into lunchboxes, and the best bit is just how easy these are - you can even make them the night before.
To make sure they're filling, smoothies should always have a fat, a fibre and a protein. So just add some nut butter/coconut cream/yoghurt, some LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond) or chia seeds. Nut butter also counts as a protein, but I love Hemp Connect's Vanilla Protein Powder - it goes super well with everything!
Then just add whatever veges you have lying around! Spinach, berries and other fruit are all great to keep frozen in the freezer. We have also an abundance of zucchini at the moment, which do well frozen too. They make smoothies creamy – weird but true!
Polenta comes from corn and is a great source of carotenoids, which is helpful for eyes. It's also just plain delicious!
1 cup of polenta
2 cups of vegetable broth - you can also substitute with stock cubes
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Sea salt and pepper
1. Line a roasting tin (16x26 cm).
2. Cook polenta in the broth – bring it to the boil and then reduce to simmer. Stir continuously until thick (less than 10 minutes).
3. Transfer to pan and smooth the top. Put it in the fridge to set (about 2 hours). Cut into wedges.
4. To cook: lightly spray with oil and bake at 180°C until golden, or fry in oil.
To serve for school just pop in a container with a dipping sauce.
We'd love to hear from you! What are your favourite lunchbox recipes?